Grand Rapids, Michigan might not be known as a hotbed of creativity, but don’t tell that to Gemma Redux founder and designer Rachel Dooley. Growing up, Dooley entertained herself with all sorts of artistic endeavors, from smashing glass to making her own mosaics to sewing and painting clothes. While studying law at Fordham, Dooley decided to take a little break in between study sessions for the New York Bar exam. One thing lead to another, and soon she found herself crafting a unique mixed metal necklace from vintage and industrial findings. Law school was forgotten, and Gemma Redux was born.
A few short years later, the bold brand has become a fashion and Hollywood favorite, even earning Dooley a coveted spot in the inaugural class of the CFDA Fashion Incubator in 2009.
What’s the one habit you have that changed your life for the better?
Cooking at home. NYC has tons of amazing food options, but nothing beats cooking what’s fresh and in season with family and friends.
What’s the one habit you have that’s not so great?
Procrastinating. The week before Fashion Week our studio always looks like a disaster zone because I’m only focused on getting the collection done. There are chains and stones everywhere, but sometimes great things come out of that last-minute madness.
What’s your naughtiest habit?
Late-night martini and steak tartare dinners. We have a great place in NYC that’s perfect for an 11pm dinner after a long studio day.
What’s your secret (or not-so-secret) style habit?
Accessorize! My wardrobe has lots of solid color pieces and architectural, structured elements that become the perfect canvas for a huge stack of bangles, a serious pair of earrings, or a show-stopper statement necklace. Jewelry makes every wardrobe more versatile and lets every woman express her personal style.
What’s a habit you wish you had?
Writing thank-you notes. A little note can really show someone you appreciate their support. I’m working on it!
What three styling tips should every woman adopt?
Grow something. We started a little garden recently and it just makes me more relaxed to have green around. Or try this cool technique I found on Pinterest recently—green graffiti! Find us on Pinterest to see other great things I stumble upon.
Have water in your office and drink lots of it.
Aim to live the imperfect perfect life. It’s a bit of a mantra in our studio. Wear clothes that make you feel great, eat food that you crave and of course, never forget one great jewel to brighten your day.
What three habits should every woman break?
Making sure everything matches. The best outfits, rooms, table settings, etc. are always a little off. Try something a little mismatched.
Over-planning on the weekends. Everyone needs time to recharge, ignore email, and catch up with people they love. We try to host brunches or afternoon barbecues with no real start and end times in mind and let friends come over whenever and hang out until all hours.
Wearing what’s expected. Try some flats with a cocktail dress or a little vintage sequin jacket with a tee and jean shorts. It will make you look at your clothes in a new light and feel like you just scored a new closet.